Monday, March 8, 2021

Underfunding to impede ambitious AU/EU African AnGR project

The (Euro) Ôé¼15 million allocated for the implementation of an AU/EU 5years contribution agreement African Genetic Resources project represents gross underfunding, given the 54 AU member state beneficiaries, Botswana-based Centre for Coordination of Agricultural Research for Southern Africa Dr. Baitsi Podisi has said.

In an interview after the November 26 to 28 AU-IBAR Regional Capacity Building Workshop on Animal Genetic Resources in Gaborone, Podisi said the mathematical breakdown allocating over the five-year timeframe amounting to about Ôé¼280, 000 (P3.6 million) or P720, 000 annually per country imposes extraordinarily tight budgetary constraints on the sustainable utilization the animal genetic resources project. Podisi said the financial predicaments confronting Africa’s resource-poor countries showcases an antithesis of the project’s theme: “Strengthening the Capacity of African Countries and Sustainable Utilization of African Genetic Resources”.

Podisi explained: “Botswana which has already successfully implemented an earlier project of similar magnitude because it has the financial capability could serve as an animal genetic resource (AnGR) model for the participating countries, despite the budgetary bottlenecks other member states will face. The ambitious project also demonstrates the pitfalls of total reliance on donor funding for member states expected to benefit from the initiative.” According to the Nairobi-based the African Union-International Bureau for Animal Research (AU-IBAR) Director Professor Ahmed El-Sawalhy, the African Genetic Resource Project aims to promote institutionalization for national and regional policies, legal and technical instruments for sustainable AnGR utilization. The project, apart from harmonizing policy and legislative frameworks, creates awareness for regional agricultural investment priorities. It will be implemented in partnership with the Food and Agricultural Organization, International Livestock Research Institute, Centre for International Research and Development for Endangered Species, to name but a few.

El-Sawalhy said: “Considering the continuous trans-boundary nature of animal breeds for water, pasture or trade, the lack of regional strategies, harmonized legislative frameworks has impeded the proper utilization, conservation and protection of some endangered species. “Regional inception workshops have been held in Ouagadougou, Kigali and of late Gaborone, in Burkina Faso, Rwanda and Botswana, representing ECOWAS, COMESA and SADC, respectively. The Algiers workshop to be held in 2014 represents the North African countries and economic communities.” The inception workshops offer an appropriate platform to exchange ideas on how best to implement the project, he said.

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